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Education and Training

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs) are registered nurses with specialized education and clinical training in providing medical forensic care to patients who have suffered sexual assault or abuse. SANEs are summoned to emergency rooms and urgent care centers to conduct interviews with victims, gather evidence, and document the details of these incidents. The scope of SANE responsibilities is broadening to encompass not only sexual assault but also domestic violence, strangulation, intimate partner violence, teen dating violence, and human trafficking. A commitment to ongoing education and professional development is a cornerstone of a SANE’s career.

The role of a SANE extends far beyond the medical examination. SANEs act as patient advocates, providing emotional support and crisis intervention during a highly vulnerable time. They also serve as a bridge between the medical world and the legal system, ensuring evidence is collected appropriately and that victims understand their reporting options. SANEs can even offer referrals for counseling and other community resources to help with the healing process. In essence, SANEs play a critical role in ensuring victims of sexual violence receive comprehensive care and have a voice throughout their recovery journey.

There are two distinct types of certifications: one at the state level and one with international recognition. International Certification is obtained through the International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN) and necessitates prior state certification and relevant experience before one can take the international certification exam.

In the state of Texas, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) oversees the certification and renewal requirements. Below are the prerequisites as specified by the OAG:

  1. Registered Nurse (RN) with a minimum of 2 years of experience.
  2. Completion of didactic training (which may be provided by IAFN).
  3. Completion of 15 Speculum Exams and 20 Well Child Exams.
  4. Accumulation of 16 Court Observation Hours, spanning from felony cases and jury selection to sentencing, and including expert witness testimony.
  5. Review of the Texas legal process, curriculum vitae (CV) writing, and other relevant topics with our staff, as mandated by the OAG.
  6. Fulfillment of the required number of precepted Forensic Exams.
  7. Submission of documentation for the certification application.

Renewal of certification through the OAG is required every two years and entails additional Continuing Education Units (CEUs), attendance at peer reviews, and other specified obligations. IAFN may have its own distinct renewal requirements.

International Association of Forensic Nurses

The International Association of Forensic Nurses (or IAFN) offers didactic SANE training, Pediatric Strangulation, IPV, and many other webinars, videos, and training. Some (but not all) are offered free for members. Bluebird’s Hope will cover some of these under contract, please feel free to contact us for more details.

Office of the Attorney General

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) provides information on certification and renewal.

Texas A&M

Texas A&M offers simulated Forensic Nursing Exams, Court hours, Speculum Exams, and Well-Child checks, but classes fill up fast!